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Wednesday, 21 November 1973
Page: 3576

Mr WHAN (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Has the attention of the Minister for Health been drawn to a leaflet entitled 'The National Health Insurance Program - The Plain Truth' circulated in the Australian Capital Territory by the General Practitioners Society of Australia? In particular, I ask whether the Minister's attention has been drawn to the question and answer in this booklet as follows:

Q.   What hospital benefits would I get?

A.   You will be able to obtain a public hospital ward bed, with up to 30 other patients. You will have to take out additional private insurance if you want a private room or private hospital treatment and the doctor of your choice.

Are this question and answer relevant to the conditions that now exist in the Australian Capital Territory?

Dr EVERINGHAM (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for Health) - I have seen this pamphlet which contains a number of questions and I suppose this particular one is the only one with special relevance to Canberra hospitals. I think that when it speaks of up to 30 beds it may be taken as misleading if it is taken by people in the Australian Capital Territory to refer to Canberra's hospitals. We have at Woden Valley Hospital and Canberra Hospital 4 beds in the great majority of wards - a few may have six - and also single bed wards which are quite modern. In one or two areas in the obstetrics and geriatric departments there are up to 6 beds and there are a few temporary geriatric wards at Canberra Hospital with 10 beds. These will cease to exist when we complete stage 2 of the Woden Valley Hospital which should be early in April next year.

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